has set a January schedule that includes Tuesday double-doses of both "Scrubs
" and "Better Off Ted
," effectively allowing the network to burn off the limited runs of both comedies.
Both "Scrubs" and "Better Off Ted" received 13 episode orders and only premiered in December, but both low-rated comedies are now on-track to finish their seasons by the end of January, before "Lost" returns.
With the schedule announced by ABC on Thursday, "Scrubs" and "Better Off Ted" will air in their current 9:00 and 9:30 p.m. slots through the end of December. As was previously revealed, ABC will air two episodes of "Better Off Ted" and one "Scrubs" episode on Friday, Jan. 1 following the Rose Bowl.
Then, starting on January 5, new episodes of "Scrubs" will air at 8:00 and 9:00, with new episodes of "Better Off Ted" airing at 8:30 and 9:30. On one hand, that's a pretty strong night of new comedy for the month of January. On the other (more realistic) hand, ABC is sure going to a lot of effort to jettison its remaining commitments to the two critically adored shows.
A pragmatic viewpoint would be that both "Scrubs" and "Better Off Ted" were slightly oddball renewals back in May and that ABC's standards for comedy viewership are even higher this year than last thanks to the success of "Modern Family" and the relative success of "Cougar Town" and even "The Middle." By those standards the most recent audiences for "Scrubs" (under 4.3 million viewers and a 1.8 rating among adults 18-49) and "Better Off Ted" (under 3.2 million viewers and a 1.3 demo rating) couldn't cut it.
ABC hasn't announced an official fate for either "Better Off Ted" or "Scrubs" and it's doubtful that anything formal will be announced until May.